A new Â£1.2m engineering facility at Fleetwood Nautical Campus will 'revolutionise' maritime training in the port when it opens this week
The Marine Engineering Centre is designed to provide first-class training in a realistic working environment which mirrors the facilities cadets will experience when working as officers at sea.
It will be officially opened by Mr Ashok Mahapatra, Director of the Maritime Safety Division of the International Maritime Organisation, during a ceremony on Friday.
Key representatives from the shipping industry will be there, along with invited dignitaries.
The Marine Engineering Centre is the latest leading-edge training facility to open at Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Fleetwood Nautical Campus.
The Fleetwood site already boasts the sector’s largest engine room simulator and a state-of-the-art full mission ship bridge simulator, which allows cadets to negotiate some of the most challenging situations they will find at sea.
Neil Atkinson, head of Fleetwood Nautical Campus, said: “We are delighted to be officially opening our new Marine Engineering Centre.
“This facility at Fleetwood Nautical Campus is another sign of the continued investment in maritime training here.
“It ensures that at Blackpool and the Fylde College we are providing exactly what is needed by industry in a constantly-evolving world of new skills and technology.
“With 95 per cent of the UK’s imports and exports now transported by sea and the maritime industry worth up to £14bn a year to the economy, the country is crying out for suitably qualified marine engineers.
“Our new Marine Engineering Centre will revolutionise the level of on-board engineering training we offer at Fleetwood.”
And the investment will continue to have a knock-on effect in Fleetwood itself, with local landlords and shops benefiting as the centre attracts national and international students into the area.
Businessman Andrew Hayhurst, invested £1million into the Orient Building, transforming it from a town centre eyesore into smart accommodation for Nautical Campus students.
He said: ““When students come into Fleetwood, there is undoubtedly a great benefit to the renting sector and local shops.
“It is good to see the Nautical Campus thriving and this is good news.”
The Marine Engineering Centre was designed and built in collaboration with shipping industry partners to ensure the facility mirrored the type of workshops students are likely to find on-board a ship at sea.
Designers were allowed access to one ship while it was in dry dock to ensure they were providing a real-world experience for students.
Brady Hogg, curriculum manager for Marine Engineering at B&FC, added: “It is vital for industry that our students leave us with the skills required to handle all of the many challenges they may come across when they are at sea.”
The Marine Engineering Centre was part-funded by a Growth Deal grant through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
Pinington Construction took six months to build the facility, with the keys handed over at the end of 2016.